If one of your parents, relatives, or siblings has been diagnosed with diabetes, or you are a member of certain racial/ethnic groups, you could be at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. There are three things you should know about this risk.
1. Your risk of getting diabetes has been found to significantly higher due to genetic differences.
Researchers have found mutations in several genes that can make you more predisposed to type 2 diabetes, so if you have a close relative with the condition, you will want to be more alert to the possibility of developing it yourself.
If both of your parents were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes you have a 50% (or one in two) chance of developing it. You have a one in seven chance of becoming diabetic if one of your parents had diabetes before the age of fifty and one in thirteen chance if they developed it after the age of fifty.
If you are a Mexican, Asian, or African American, a Native Hawaiian or pacific Islander, or a Native American, you would also have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
2. However, you can lower your chances of getting diabetes by regular exercise, eating healthfully, and losing weight.
Researchers have also found that losing as little as 5% to 10% of your body weight can lower your blood sugar numbers, and if you are pre-diabetic, your risk of developing full blown diabetes is lowered by 58%. For a person who weighs 160 lbs. this would mean a drop of 8 to 16 pounds and for a person who weighs 200 lbs. this could mean a drop of 10 to 20 lbs.
Of course, regular exercise increases your chances of losing weight and keeping it off, but also by itself, this one change can lower your blood sugar level and make your body cells use the insulin more efficiently. This is important because weight gain and inactivity can make your cells insulin-resistant which contributes to higher blood glucose levels.
Another healthful change you can make today is to lower your consumption of soft drinks, and to drink more water. The calories and sugar content of these drinks can affect your health and may be implicated in the rise of diabetes in the U.S. and U.K.
It is best to limit snack foods that are made up of simple carbohydrates because they don't give you much nutrition, and they can actually deplete your body nutritional stores when your body is going through the process of digesting them. These empty starches will your elevate blood sugar.
You should strive to eat a balanced diet that contains adequate sources of protein and complex carbohydrates that are found in vegetables and whole grains. Make sure your sources of fats are healthy ones and keep them at acceptable levels. You need a balanced intake of fats like Omega-3 and Omega-6, found in fish, nuts, and other foods like avocados, for brain and nerve health and to maintain other body processes.
3. Early diabetes can cause some unusual symptoms.
Consistently high blood sugar levels can cause damage to your capillaries and also to your nerves. It can make your body fluid levels fluctuate. On top of that if you are living a stressful lifestyle, your body starts releasing stress hormones that can increase your chances of developing diabetes. These factors can bring about these unusual symptoms:
- Dark patches on your skin, or itchy skin,
- Fluctuating eyesight (Your eyesight might actually improve at times.),
- Excessive snoring,
- Hearing problems, or
- Drowsiness during the day.
If you have these symptoms, or any of the more common ones like increased thirst and urination, unexplained weight gain or loss, etc., you should consult a doctor of internal medicine for tests and treatment to prevent or manage diabetes. For more information, talk to a professional like those at Hightstown Medical Associates.